LONDON, Great Britain - No.4 seed Anastasia Potapova capped her stellar rise on the junior circuit with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Dayana Yastremska in the final of the Wimbledon girls' singles tournament.
The young Russian has been on the fast track to junior stardom for the last three years, reaching a hat trick of finals at the prestigious Eddie Herr International Junior Championships (winning once in each of the U12 and U14). Last year, she captured the Les Petit As - a tournament once won by a young Timea Bacsinszky - and arrived at the All England Club coming off a semifinal finish at the junior French Open.
Potapova would go even further at Wimbledon, knocking out four seeds and dropping just one set en route to her first junior Grand Slam title. Against No.7 seed Yastremska, the No.1 Court crowd was treated to an improbable final game, where two of her first six (ostensibly winning) championship points were over-turned on correct challenges from the Ukrainian.
The 15 year old was first encouraged to give tennis a try by her grandmpother, who coached a national basketball team.
"My granny saw the tennis practice in the same building. There was small girls my age, like five years old. She liked it. She tried me in tennis," explained Potapova, who grew up idolizing Maria Sharapova.
"At the first practice, I was like, 'Oh, I like it.' But then I was liking it more, more, more. Now I love it. I love tennis life. I love everything here 'cause I can't imagine my life without tennis, really."
Potapova was also the top seed in girls' doubles with Olesya Pervushina, but fell in the semifinals to eventual champions Usue Maitane Arconada and Claire Liu.